Historic Jeddah: The revival of the open-air museum city

Historic Jeddah: The revival of the open-air museum city

Rich in history, Jeddah is more than just a bustling metropolis
03 April 23
Historic Jeddah

Jeddah is abundant with unique and many historical, archaeological and urban sites.  

The city is a museum within itself, with a various historical monument, and places of cultural significant, the city is an important location in Saudi history. Some monuments and locations even date back to the 3rd century BC.   

Home to more than 600 heritage buildings, 36 historical mosques and 5 major historical marketplaces, in addition to a number of ancient plazas and historical sites such as the old waterfront, Jeddah is a city that will interest and excite history buffs. 

Jeddah can be considered an open-air museum with its archaeological houses and ancient buildings that narrate part of the history of the city, such landmarks that makes it easier for the visitor to explore the long history of each monument according to its own era. 

Jeddah Wall and its Seven Gates 

With its seven gates, the Wall of Jeddah tops the list of its heritage landmarks. Each gate is a testament to the city's rich history, including Bab (gate or door) Makkah, Bab Al-Madina, Bab Shareef, Bab Jadeed, Bab Al-Bantt and Bab Al-Magarba. Such is the case with its old neighborhoods, historical mosques and ancient marketplaces. All these landmarks together constitute a unique historical registry for the city. 

There are other landmarks that enjoy their own special characteristic in Jeddah, including Bait Nassif (Nassif’s house) which is considered one of the most important heritage landmarks in the city that acquired a special status after the late King Abdulaziz was hosted by Sheikh Omar Nassif in it.

In this house, the residents of Jeddah pledged allegiance to King Abdulaziz in 1925. The house was built in 1289 H, but took 10 years to finish the building process. Sheik Nassif gave the house as a gift to the Kingdom. 

The Project to Revive Historic Jeddah

This project will turn the area to an attractive hub for cultural and developmental schemes and make it an incubator for creativity. 

And because of the city's high status and ancient history, HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs launched a project to "Revive Historic Jeddah" in the frame of developing historical Jeddah, which aims to boost living spaces in the area to become an attractive center for cultural and business ventures, and a major destination for highly ambitious entrepreneurs.  

The project is a confirmation on the eagerness and interest of HRH Mohammed bin Salman to preserve and rehabilitate historical sites, and to achieve the aims of Vision 2030, and also to reflect the Arab and Islamic roots of Saudi Arabia as one of the important pillars of the Vision. 


A Global Front for Saudi Arabia 

The project "Revive Historic Jeddah" aims to highlight Jeddah's prestigious status of the heritage landmarks and historical sites in the history of Saudi Arabia.

The work to achieve the goals of the project will extend to 15 years, Jeddah's historic and cultural areas will be protected. Several different sub-projects will take place including developing the city's infrastructure and services.

The development of natural and environmental domains, improving the quality of life and enhancing the urban aspects to achieve the goals of the project which include making historic Jeddah an inspiring site for the region and a global front for Saudi Arabia.  

An Integrated Environment

The project to "Revive Historic Jeddah" also aims to create an integrated environment in historical Jeddah, where several natural pillars are available, including a developed waterfront on a span of 5 km, green spaces and open parks and gardens that cover 15 percent of the area of Jeddah Al Balad, out of the total area of the project which amounts to 2.5 sq. meters. 

The project will make use of these natural components by transforming them to supporting elements for a sustainable healthy environment with zero pollution. 

The project will also include building the old waterfront, one of the oldest routes that pilgrims used to take to reach Makkah in order to perform Hajj. 

Investing In Jeddah's History 

The project to "Revive Historic Jeddah" represents a major part of the efforts to develop historical Jeddah to invest in its history. It aims to turn the area to economic arms that contribute to the growth of GDP and the achievement of the Saudi vision 2030 targets. The project reflects also a part of the Kingdom's orientations toward sustainable development in all areas and cities of the kingdom through eco- friendly developmental and urban projects where natural incubators for creativity are available, as well as attractive sites for living and working which will in turn contribute to the economic growth of the country.